TOKYO -- No sooner had Hyundai achieved top-notch quality and reliability marks than it scored big in another key area where it long lagged: brand appeal.
The South Korean automaker surged in this year's Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study by J.D. Power and Associates. Hyundai was the most improved brand, jumping to No. 15 in the rankings released this week , from 28 in 2010.
More telling still: Hyundai's top-line Equus luxury sedan was honored as the highest ranked model in the large premium car category, besting the runners-up -- BMW's 7 series and the Audi A8.
In fact, the Equus was the highest performing model in the entire study. Meanwhile, the Sonata sedan and Tucson crossover were also tapped as a top-three entrant in their segments.